Consultation overview

The Electricity Authority (the Authority) is proposing to streamline how it collects data from electricity retailers.

The Authority monitors the electricity market’s behaviour and performance by collecting information from electricity industry participants. They use this information to help them make evidence-based decisions for the benefit of consumers, and stay responsive to a rapidly changing electricity industry.  

Monitoring the retail market is an important part of their data collection work. However, the Authority’s existing mechanisms for collecting retail market data are insufficient to adequately monitor:

  • the retail market
  • consumer outcomes, and 
  • the effectiveness of the Consumer Care Guidelines.

So, they’re consulting on proposed changes to the way they currently collect data under Clause 2.16 of the Electricity Industry Participation Code 2010 (the Code). Their proposal would see all retailers asked to supply data from mass market customers – including any account managed small businesses – that the Authority would use to better understand the retail market. The Authority have asked for feedback on:

  • their description of the current issues with monitoring of the retail market
  • the disestablishment of existing mechanisms for collecting retail data
  • whether the content of the proposed clause 2.16 notice meets their aim to improve market monitoring
  • whether the benefits of collecting this data outweigh the costs incurred by the proposed clause 2.16 notice change
  • whether the proposed 2 month implementation period provides enough time for retailers to update their internal data systems to meet the new requirements. 

Submissions on this consultation closed on 29 February 2024.

Improving retail market monitoring: Clause 2.16 information notice(external link)

Our recommendations

We submitted a response to this consultation with the following recommendations and notes.

  • We agree with the Authority that there are significant gaps in retail market monitoring. Gaps in monitoring undermine the ability to assess outcomes for consumers and to gauge whether legislative objectives are being achieved. 
  • While we welcome this consultation, we note the proposed data collection is based on monitoring compliance with the existing Consumer Care Guidelines. As we have previously noted, there are significant shortfalls in the protections these guidelines provide. 
  • We agree retail market monitoring should be through one consolidated mandatory request, collected on a consistent basis and proactively published.
  • We consider a new clause 2.16 notice is an appropriate option to improve retail market monitoring.
  • The notice proposes collection of data on certain fees, such as disconnection and debt management fees. However, retailers charge a range of other fees, often called “service fees”, and we consider data should also be collected on these to provide a more complete picture of the retail market and consumer outcomes.
  • We note the proposed measures in “Table 3 Disconnection” intend to provide for the collection of automatic disconnection (and later reconnection) of prepay customers. This is important data and we are pleased the Authority intends to collect it from retailers providing prepay services. 
  • We recommend data should be collected to gauge the responsiveness of retailers’ call centres, similar to the approach adopted by the Australia Energy Regulator.
  • We consider the benefits of collecting the information are likely to significantly outweigh the costs. 
  • Data transparency is a minimum requirement in order for consumers to be able to trust regulatory settings. We therefore consider monitoring data should be publicly available.
  • At a minimum, all information collected through the notice should be publicly available in both an aggregated form and by retailer.